OK, maybe I can accept a little mechanical doping

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Electric bikes at a garden show isn Belgium

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Keep it outside competition, and what does it really matter

“Electric bikes have limits. Under EU law, they cannot go over 25 kilometres an hour. Anything else and you become a motorised bike and need a helmet and you cannot use the bike paths.”

Notes: I rode an electric bike. Actually not the first time. I will not be a convert until I am well further into my life than I am now. I still love propelling the bike with just my legs. But I could understand the attraction. And why they are not the worst part of cycling. You still need to pedal, still need to take on some responsibility for movement. The electric aspect simply gives you speed. Otherwise, you might be another five kilometres an hour rider, barely moving and scarcely enjoying the ride.

I have met a few electric riders. People who live a decent distance out and need the help maintaining a decent speed to and from work. A chronic injury rider who would find himself far from home and unable to ride back without some assistance. Or older riders who simply no longer have the muscle depth to continue in their sport without a little mechanical doping. All brilliant reasons to take on electrics.

I might even have become more accepting of their presence. Have come off the purist stance of cycling for cyclists alone. I mean, in the final years, my dad had some issues in riding, despite having been an avid rider for six decades. An electric bike would have been perfect for him – and I would have been glad to help get him one, just so we could do a few more Sunday rides together. And now I am writing, my best friend here in Belgium who had cancer and bought an electric bike so she could continue to be part of the community she had belonged for so long. I mean, in her last months, we were still able to get out and enjoy as ride once in a while.

Truth is, electric bikes are going to become far more prominent than they are now. As long as they are not in competition, I guess I should be more tolerant.

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